Graduate Film Achievements 2014-15


Thesis student Laura Terruso co-wrote the feature film HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS developed from her first year student film. The film, directed by Michael Showalter and starring Sally Field, sold for $1.75 million to Roadside Attractions, the largest deal struck at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. The U.S. theatrical release is set for 2016.

NYU had a big presence at Cannes this year. NYU Alum Yared Zeleke's first feature film, LAMB, was called "sheer brilliance” by The Guardian, and thesis student Jonas Carpignano’s MEDITERRANEA premiered in the Critic’s Week section to great critical acclaim.

Also at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in the Director’s Fortnight was SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME, a feature film directed by thesis student Chloé Zhao and produced by alumnae Mollye Asher, which also premiered in the 2015 Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival - a prestigious debut for these filmmakers.

Alumnus Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo won the Teddy Award for Best Short Film for his thesis film, SAN CRISTOBAL, at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival. It was also accepted into the 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Several alums and one adjunct professor are working on the his series TRANSPARENT, which boasts more women directors than any other series today according to Indiewire:  Bridget Bedard, Nisha Ganitra and adjunct professor Stacie Passon

Alumnae Lisa Bruce won a BAFTA award for developing and producing the Best British Picture of 2014, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. The film also picked up 2 Golden Globes, multiple SAG awards, and was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Alumnae Katie Scoggin was the co-producer, co-director of photography and assistant editor of the Oscar-winning documentary CITIZENFOUR (2014).

Alumnus Cary Fukunaga is directing and executive producing THE ALIENIST, an event TV series inspired from Caleb Carr’s bestselling novel. Fukunaga’s film BEASTS OF NO NATION was purchased by Netflix for $12 million for worldwide rights, and is set to have a simultaneous streaming and theatrical release.

Alumnus Brett Morgen’s documentary KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK premiered at Sundance 2015 and was released on HBO the following May.

Remarkably, three recent alumni of Grad Film, all women, were nominated for Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards:  Sara Colangelo (LITTLE ACCIDENTS), Desiree Akhavan (APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) and Anja Marquardt (SHE’S LOST CONTROL). These films have continued their festival runs and garnered many other awards for these three writer-directors.

Five NYU Grad Film students had shorts in competition at the Sundance 2015 Film Festival: SUPERIOR by Erin Vassilopoulos; STOP by Reinaldo Marcus Green; MULIGNANS by Shaka King; OH LUCY! by Atsuko Hirayanagi from Tisch Asia; and VOLTA, by alumnae Stella Kyrakopoulos, was also in the international section. OH LUCY! won the International Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film.

The St. Louis-based feature film CRONIES, directed by thesis student Michael Larnell and produced by thesis student Julius Pryor IV and Tisch Asia alumnus Martisse Hill, premiered in the NEXT section of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and also screened at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

Recent alumnae Pamela Romanowsky directed the THE ADDERALL DIARIES, a feature starring Amber Heard and James Franco, produced by alum and former adjunct professor James Franco, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was sold to A24 for distribution on DirectTV prior to the film’s theatrical release.

Alumnus Darius Clark Monroe’s documentary EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL won the St. Louis Film Critics' Joe Pollack Award at the 2014 St. Louis International Film Festival and has been nominated for multiple awards at other festivals, including the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards and the Black Reel Awards. The documentary was recently released on Netflix.

Third year student Oscar Sharp's short film, THE KARMAN LINE, was nominated for a 2015 BAFTA.

Alumnae Leah Meyerhoff's feature I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS was nominated for the 2014 SXSW Grand Jury Award and was released in U.S. theaters at the end of May 2015.

Alumnae Gabrielle DeMesteere's film YOSEMITE, produced by and starring alum James Franco, premiered at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival and won the Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund Award.  The film is now on a festival tour.

Stewart Thorndyke’s web series LYLE was edited by Professor Jennifer Ruff into a feature and released online to great success.

Recent alumnae Desiree Akhavan's film APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR won the Grand Jury Prize at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and is being released by Parkville Pictures. Akhayan is also a recurring character on the popular TV series Girls, and had a television series based on her feature was selected for the Sundance Episodic lab.

Faraday Okoro's BLITZ, Reinaldo Marcus Green's STOP and Heather Jack's LET’S NOT PANIC were selected for the Tribeca Film Festival’s 2015 New York Narrative Shorts program.

Alumnae Mollye Asher produced several nominated and award-winning films in the past year:  including FORT TILDEN (2014), CHRISTMAS WEDDING BABY (2014), and SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME (2015). Asher is currently developing her next feature, RADIUM GIRLS, which won the Alfred P. Sloan Production Grant in 2013.

The feature film FORT TILDEN, written and directed by thesis student Charles Rogers and recent graduate Sarah Violet Bliss, won the 2014 SWSW Grand Jury Prize, and will be released in theaters this August by Orion Releasing. The film’s producers are alumni Mollye Asher and Geoff Mansfield, with cinematography by thesis student Brian Lannin.

Thesis student Frances Bodomo's script based on her award-winning short film AFRONAUTS won the Alfred P. Sloan Production Grant for $100,000 as well as the Spike Lee Fellowship.  Frances was also invited to the June 2015 Sundance screenwriting lab with this project.

Thesis student Mark Kindred’s script ROGUE was selected to participate in the 2015 January and June Screenwriters and Directors Labs at Sundance.

Abu Bakr Shawy was awarded a $75,000 grant at the 2015 Richard Vague Film Production Awards for the development of his feature film YOMEDDINE.

Recent graduate Kirsten Tan’s script for her first feature, POPEYE, about a journey a disenchanted man takes with his long-lost elephant, was selected for the Cinefondation’s Atelier at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival; the script also won $75,000 at the TorinoFilmLabs.

Recent alumnus Paul Dalio's feature film MANIA DAYS, starring Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby, premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and received good reviews. 

Leonardo D’Antoni wrote and directed the feature film AVENTURERA, which premiered late 2014, and was awarded the DAC Prize for Best Argentine Director at the Mar del Plata Film Festival.

Recent alumnae Kiara Jones directed the feature film CHRISTMAS WEDDING BABY, which has run in multiple festivals since its premiere, including the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival.

Recent alumnae Kiandra Parks directed the short film, BLACK GIRL IN PARIS, produced by alumnae Kiara Jones. After touring the festival circuit and winning ABFF's short film award, the project then aired on HBO. 

Alum Julius Onah's film THE GIRL IS IN TROUBLE was released in U.S. theaters in early April 2015.

Recent alum TJ Parsell’s prison orientation films, created with the Marshall Project, are making headlines on their address of the issues of prison rape.

“H.” co-directed by Grad Film alum Daniel Garcia and his partner Rania Attieh, premiered at the Sundance and Venice Film Festivals.

Alumnus Josef Wladyka, winner of Tribeca Film Festival’s 2014 Best New Narrative Director, has taken his film MANOS SUCIAS to multiple film festivals in the past year and had its theatrical release in the U.S.A. and France.

Six student and alumni films were selected for SXSW 2015:  Michael Showalter and Laura Terruso’s HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS; Paul and Kristina Dalio’s MANIA DAYS; Thati Peele’s short film LERATO; Jess Dela Merced’s short WAIT TIL THE WOLVES MAKE NICE; and Vladimir de Fontenay’s music video TOYS.

HBO announced a spring start for BESSIE, the Dee Rees-directed biopic about iconic bisexual blues singer Bessie Smith. Queen Latifah is both the film’s star and executive producer, and Dee wrote the screenplay.

Also on HBO, NYU Alums Jamal Caesar and Sasie Sealy premiered their Access short films called PROGRESS and THE LAST SONG in conjunction with HBO's NOW launch.

Three NYU Grad Film Alumni were awarded the prestigious San Francisco Film Society / KRF Filmmaking Grant: Chloe Zhao ($60K for post-production), Jonas Carpignano ($60K for post production), and Elena Greenlee ($35K for screenwriting).

NYU Grad Film alumnus and adjunct professor John Hamburg teamed up with Dual MBA/MFA Degree alumnus Jacob Robinson to form a production company at Fox in 2014.

Felipe Prado was awarded the First Prize King Award for his 2nd year film, PARTIU. Second Prize went to Raisa Bonnet for her 2nd year film LUNA VIEJA, and Reinaldo Marcus Green won Third Prize for his 3rd year film STOP.

Shawn Synder’s short film LULU screened at the 2015 Palm Spring Short Film Festival.

Brooke Goldfinch’s short film RED ROVER was a finalist for the Australian Dendy Short Film Awards and will premiere at the Sydney International Film Festival.

Ingrid Jungermann won the Wasserman Screenwriting award for her web series, F TO 7TH.

Recent alumnae Anja Marquardt won the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival for her film SHE’S LOST CONTROL, which was produced by fellow alumni Mollye Asher and Kiara Jones. The film, which premiered domestically at the SXSW Film Festival, is currently touring.

NYU Grad Film alum Andrij Parekh and his wife Sophie Barthes' film MADAME BOVARY opened theatrically in June 2015. Andrij was the DP on a number of great NYU projects when he was a student and went on to have a brilliant career as a cinematographer. BLUE VALENTINE, SUGAR, HALF NELSON are just a few of his feature credits.

Clare Sackler’s 2nd Year film HUMPTY had a national broadcast through PBS’ World Channel.